Longtime Madison educator, namesake of school’s football field, dies at 82

A former school administrator, teacher, athletic director and coach whose school named its football field after him has died.

Larry Brandenburg died Wednesday at Hospice Care of Dayton, according to friends. He was 82.

Madison High School, where Brandenburg spent his entire 30-year career, named its football stadium after him. He founded the school’s football program in 1960 and coached football until 1965.

But Brandenburg is best remembered for leading the boys basketball team to the State Class AA Final Four in 1972. The team advanced even after losing one of its star players, Kenny Martz, to an eye injury against Carlisle in the sectionals. That team finished 24-2, the school record for most wins at the time. That record was tied in 2010 when the Mohawks, under Jeff Smith, went 24-1 and lost in the regionals.

Brandenburg won 114 games in 11 seasons as basketball coach.

When Smith was named coach in 1994, he asked Brandenburg to be the keynote speaker at his first Mohawks basketball camp.

“He was jacked up,” Smith said. “You would have thought he was 25.”

Brandenburg graduated from Gratis High School and started teaching at Madison in 1959. He taught physical education and biology and was director of the science department for 18 years, according to district records.

He coached cross country, track, football and boys basketball and served as assistant principal/athletic director for seven years, then principal for five years. He retired in 1989 after 30 years with the district.

Sonny Brandenburg, a 1969 Madison graduate who isn’t related, called Brandenburg “the best hire ever” in the district.

“Just think of the number of students he impacted,” said Brandenburg, 68. “Countless individuals.”

He was coached in cross country and track by Brandenburg, and he watched him throughout his basketball coaching career. He was impressed by the coach’s court demeanor.

“He never seemed to get upset,” Brandenburg said. “He never lost his composure.”

He was “more than a coach,” Brandenburg said.

“He listened when he needed to and gave you advice when you needed it,” Brandenburg said. “He was a good man.”

Tim Young, 58, a 1979 Madison graduate, called Brandenburg “a special, special person.”

Brandenburg is survived by wife of 52 years, Paula, a retired Madison teacher.

Funeral services are pending.

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